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State Representative JoAnn Ward

231 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-7807

For more information contact: Gina Vega 651-296-5526

Posted: 2018-05-16
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Legislative Update

Legislative Update- 4 Days Left


Dear Neighbors,

Four days are left before our constitutionally set deadline to adjourn. We’re seeing more activity now as we race to the finish line. Here’s an update from the Capitol:

‘Hands Free’ Legislation

My colleague Rep. Hornstein called for an urgency to allow debate on the ‘hands free’ cell phone bill today on the House Floor. The bipartisan bill, which would ban handheld cell phone use when operating a motor vehicle,has over 35 Republican and DFL co-authors and has gained 80 percent of Minnesotans’ support. As a co-author and strong advocate myself, I was very disappointed when the effort was blocked by House leadership. Minnesota drivers and pedestrians deserve to be safe on the roads. I have heard from many constituents in favor of this law.

Tax Bill

The House passed the final tax bill yesterday after sorting out differences with the Senate’s version. I was hopeful the bill might get better after conference committee negotiations, but unfortunately, it only got worse as it delivers more money in tax giveaways for corporations and the wealthiest.

Governor Dayton has been very clear that delivering Emergency School Aid is essential and he’ll veto the tax bill if that funding is not prioritized. We have a budget surplus, but schools facing projected budget shortfalls are going to have to lay off teachers, support staff and cut important programming for students. Instead of investing in our kids, the Legislative Majority has chosen to move forward with their tax bill that unfairly prioritizes corporate interests. I remain cautiously optimistic a compromise can be reached by Monday.

Protecting Our Democracy

This week, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon called on the Legislature to release $1.5 million in approved federal funding for Minnesota’s election cybersecurity. The federal law passed in March requires Minnesota legislative and gubernatorial approval to accept and deliver the funds.

Secretary Simon has been working tirelessly with local elections administrators statewide so all Minnesotans have a voice on how we can best protect our elections. The Governor and members of the Legislature have all agreed on the importance of funding to enhance cybersecurity for our elections. Rather than allow this piece of legislation to slip through the cracks in election-year partisanship, Minnesotans expect our leaders to set aside politics for the sake of protecting our democracy. You can read more about Secretary Simon’s request here.

Police Week in Woodbury

Police Week is being celebrated this week in Woodbury. Woodbury Public Safety will host an open house Saturday, May 19, from 9:00-11:00 a.m. at the Woodbury Public Safety Building, located at 2100 Radio Drive. Bring the whole family for building tours, activities for kids, Public Safety vehicles, photos through the years, and more!

We expect a few long days and nights before adjournment. Please reach out with any questions, comments or concerns. Your input is appreciated!

Sincerely,

JoAnn Ward  

Minnesota House of Representatives  ·   100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN   55155   ·   Webmaster@house.mn